One exciting thing about these tips of talking to children is that if you can talk to kids in a way that they listen to you, then, you can talk to anybody, anywhere.
Kids sometimes get adamant when you are trying to talk to them and this, can be really frustrating. It is most ‘painful’ when you need them to listen to you.
On the bright side, there are a few things you can do to help get them to become more calm, responsive, and actually listen every time you talk to them.
1. Keep It Simple
Think of what happens when you ask someone for directions to a place and they bombard you with instructions.
Chances are: you will leave even more confused.
Same way, young children have trouble following too many directions given at once.
So, instead of pouring it out all at once, try to stagger your requests into small chunks.
If you give instructions like: “Ayo, put those books back into your bag, the toys into the box, but first take this bowl to the kitchen and get me a tablespoon on your way back.”
Chances are, Ayo will take the bowl to the kitchen, hand you the spoon, and then forget the first two things you said because that’s the last thing she remembers you asking.
In talking to your children so they actually listen, it’s important that you are receptive to their level of assimilation, as well as, interest in the conversation.
2. Make Eye Contact
Amongst other things, maintaining eye contact makes it harder for a kid to ignore what you’re saying. Form a habit of looking at them right in the eyes.
Also, this is a great window for you to see if they’re listening to you.
Try to keep your gaze warm and non-threatening because if they think you’re angry or trying to control them, they will probably be resistant.
You can gently let them know that you’d like them to look you in the eyes by maybe saying: “I’d like for you to look at me.
“If your child feels adamant or embarrassed, they might not want to make eye contact, but if you stick with it, they may come around.
When talking a smaller child, you might need to kneel or squat lower so you can look into their eyes.
This will help them feel like you’re making an effort to meet them on their level, rather than just making declarations.
3. Say Their Name
Everyone likes the sound of their own names and those kids are no different.
A good technique of talking to your children so that they actually listen is saying their name before you begin the conversation and spicing up the dialogue by repeating it from time to time.
It will help to get their attention before delivering your message and hold it while you keep talking.
4. Stay Tranquil
No one wants to listen to someone who’s giving orders. In fact, it always stimulates resistance.
Think about how you feel when someone orders you around.
Instead, keep your tone warm.
When we get/sound upset, kids feel unsafe and go into fight or flight mode. In their effort to defend themselves or to fight back, they become less effective at listening, and lose sight of our message.
If your objective is getting everyone in the car, don’t waste time and energy lecturing them about why they didn’t listen to you and get ready when you first asked or why they took so long.
That will only make everyone more upset, including you.
If most of your communication with your kids consists of nagging, they just won’t listen to you.
5. Set Up Routines
The more routines you have, the less you will have a hard time talking to your kids.
Have a standard routine for when and how consistent activities like brushing of teeth, folding their clothes, arranging their toys, etc.
Make a daily routine chart for them and strategically place them in areas around the house where they’d easily sight them.
Put your kids in charge of what they need to do and you’d see that over time, your supervision of them will be limited to asking questions like: “What else do you have to do before you leave the house?
Let’s confirm from your morning schedule.”
6. Be A Good Listener
Talking with children is a two-way street. Talk with them and listen to what they have to say; listening is just as important as talking.
If you’re one to always stare at your screen while your child tells you about their day, keep in mind that you’re role modeling how you expect communications to be handled in your home.
If you really want your children to actually listen when it’s your turn to talk to them, stop what you’re doing and play the part of a good listener.
It will only take a few minutes. do this even with your toddlers and by the time they are more grown, it would have become a norm in your family to listen when they’re being spoken to.
READ ALSO: How To Answer Difficult Questions Kids Ask
7. Make Clear The Things Non-negotiable.
Let you “Yes” be yes, and your “No”, No. in as much as you want a very peaceful, loving conversation with your child/ren, every dialogue cannot go their way.
If they know that there are no consequences for disobeying mummy and that everything with you is negotiable, why would they actually want to listen?
So, by all means, maximise the happy, pleasant interactions, and minimise the orders, but let some of those exist too, for balance.
8. Make Time For One-on-one Conversations
This is what you must do especially if there is quite an age gap between your children. You want them to actually listen?
Then make time to talk to each of them, exclusively.
Besides, conversations with older siblings can sometimes be above the younger child’s level of understanding.
Moreover, older siblings require stimulating and albeit brief, detailed discussions where they can learn and make inquiries.
Therefore, it’s important you try to get some one-on-one time with your kids at different times so you can talk at their comprehension level and use suitable vocabulary.
Find more tips on parenting here.